The Verbal Reasoning section in the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is one of four sections in the test. It is one of two computer-adaptive sections in the test, and is very important because it contributes to your GMAT composite score. While it is an MCQ-based section, it evaluates a variety of ṣyour English language verbal skills, and puts your time management skills to the test as well.
This article will give you further insights into the GMAT’s Verbal Reasoning syllabus, and help you understand what it evaluates and how you can achieve a good score.
A sneak-peek into to GMAT verbal section:
An ideal business student must be equipped with both analytical and verbal efficiency.
The experts put emphasis on the Verbal section to test the candidate’s command over written English. To attempt this section smoothly, make sure you are familiar with the rules and tools of the language, such as sentence structure norms, grammar, etc.
There are 36 questions in this section, for which you will be given 65 minutes.
Three types of questions are included in the verbal section:
- Critical Reasoning
- Reading Comprehension
- Sentence Correction
The Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT is computer-adaptive. This means that the more questions you answer correctly, the more difficult subsequent questions will become. Incorrect answers will either cause a drop in the difficulty level or will keep it unchanged.
GMAT Verbal Reasoning syllabus
The Verbal Reasoning section tests a candidate’s ability to understand the written material and find the logical relationship between the ideas put forth. It analyses skills like argument evaluation and the ability to read critically.
Now, let us look into the details of each question type:
- Critical Reasoning
Questions in the Critical Reasoning category will test your skills of evaluating arguments rationally, and conclusively coming up with an appropriate action plan. The candidates are presented with a short prompt for each question. The candidate is expected to find the right answer choice that will strengthen the argument, based on a logical analysis of the prompt. In some instances, you may be asked to identify an assumption that the argument provided makes.
How to ace Critical Reasoning questions?
Here are some tried and tested tips that will help you to crack the critical reasoning questions like a pro:
- Recognize the argument’s structure.
- Pinpoint the conclusion.
- Determine what verification exists to back the conclusion.
- Decide what suppositions are made to shift from evidence to conclusion.
Most importantly, always read Critical Reasoning questions multiple times before attempting to answer them, as the questions may employ the usage of complex vocabulary and linguistic jargon.
2. Reading Comprehension
In the Reading Comprehension question type, you will be presented with passages that are typically 200-250 words long. After reading the passage thoroughly, you can attempt the MCQ-type questions. Your ability to draw inferences and find logical relationships in the reading passage will once again be evaluated here.
How to ace Reading Comprehension?
To crack the reading comprehension questions like a pro, you need to start working on the following:
- Your critical reading skills
- Ability to summarise the main idea
- Identifying the distinction between those opinions that are stated and those that are implied
- Making inferences on the basis of the given information
- Analyzing the logical structure of the given passage
- Determining the tone of the author.
- Determining the author’s point of view on the topic
- The comprehension questions will cover a variety of topics like business, social sciences, biological sciences, and physical science. Approximately three or four questions will be asked about the passage.
- Never try to memorize all the information, it is neither practical nor advisable. A thorough reading will give you a fair idea about the author’s tone and purpose and you will be able to analyze the scope of the passage. Getting stuck and memorizing the minute details will cause confusion and wastage of time.
- A useful tip for identifying the sentences that state the author’s opinion is to locate words such as ‘therefore’, ‘consequently’, ‘obviously’, ‘hence’, ‘clearly’, etc.
3. Sentence Correction
The Sentence Correction type is the final category of questions asked under the GMAT verbal syllabus. Aspects of language proficiency, i.e., grammatical accuracy, expression usage, etc, are analysed here. In the sentence correction questions, you will come across very elaborate and twisted sentences. You will be required to identify and rectify different kinds of linguistic errors made in those sentences. Usually, there are four alternatives provided, and you are expected to select the best one as per your understanding.
Tips to ace sentence correction:
- Make a note of obvious errors.
- Try locating different types of errors.
- Try paraphrasing or simplifying the sentences.
- Read through each option carefully.
Note that there is a hefty score penalty if you leave any questions unanswered in any of the sections. Be conscious of the ticking clock while attempting this section, as reading the passages might consume a lot of your exam time.
How does GMAT’s Verbal section influence your total score?
The total GMAT score is calculated from “scaled scores” derived from the Quantitative Reasoning section and the Verbal Reasoning section. Though the two sections are scaled together, both are marked independently and have their own percentile distribution as well.
The average score for the candidates in the Verbal Reasoning section is 28.6. This shows that scoring well in this section is not an easy task. These scores ultimately add up to your composite score, which can range from 200 to 800. B-school admission committees review and evaluate composite GMAT scores of applicants. Hence, the Verbal section of the GMAT is an important contributing factor in determining your overall performance.
Points to remember
After reading the detailed description of the Verbal syllabus, you must look into the areas that require attention.
- Understand that the Verbal section asks 36 multiple-choice questions.
- Time management is key while attempting this section.
- Ideally, allot 6 minutes to each Reading Comprehension question set of 4 questions. Going over 8 minutes for a single set is likely to impact your score because you might not be able to complete the whole section if you spend too much time on just one set. Allot 2-4 minutes to read and skim through the passage, and use the rest of the time to answer the related questions.
- For Critical Reasoning, take no more than 90 seconds to 3 minutes per question.
- Lastly, for nailing Sentence Correction, you should aim for a time range of 60 to 90 seconds per question.
There is a high probability that you might come across challenging questions if you are doing well and answering correctly, as the section follows a computer-adaptive pattern. Keep in mind the tips and points shared in this article while you do practice papers and in the actual GMAT exam. It is not difficult to do well if you understand the principles of the language and testing structure, and with practice, you will be able to achieve an excellent Verbal Reasoning score.